We all love to read about philosophy and try to understand it more and more by reading and learning about it. But have you ever wondered how only one person had incredibly influenced this entire field of thought?
Well, sit tight as we are going to go on a journey to explore a fascinating realm of philosophy and how his ideas sent ripples that shaped our thinking today.
We are talking about none other than Plato, much of whose work today remain in Latin.
Today, in this article, we are going to explore some ideas of Plato and his Impact on Western philosophy and beyond. While you can read his work in Latin should you want to learn the language, you may want to know more about him first.
1. Who is Plato and Why is He called the Father of Philosophy?
A long time ago, around 428-427 BCE, a man was born in ancient Greece named Plato. He was the kind of man who wanted to know all the answers about the world. He used to question everything and tried to figure out the world around him. Because of his curiosity and clever thinking, Plato has left so many smart ideas that we talk about even in today’s world.
You can know more about him by reading some of his most notable works.
Now, many of you might be wondering why he is called the “father of philosophy”? Well, this question of yours will get answered once you read his thoughts. There will be nothing wrong if we call him the OG (original gangster) of deep thoughts. He was also the teacher of another great personality that contributed to our philosophy, Aristotle.
By his ideas and thoughts, he taught us that if we use our minds properly, we will be able to understand life in more depth, like pondering the meaning of life, what is right and what is wrong, and a lot more.
2. Definition of Philosophy According to Philosophy
Plato’s definition of philosophy and today’s definition of philosophy have so much in common. Why? Because whatever we learn and read about philosophy is somehow influenced by Plato’s thoughts and ideas.
Plato’s point of view on philosophy is that it is a journey of our minds. When we go and visit a new place, we question things like when this sculpture was made and why their music is so different. In the same way, we should question things around us. Why is this sky blue, and how such big airplanes are able to fly in the sky?
Overall, instead of just saying it is what it is, we should use our minds to figure out things on our own. A process where we think deeply about something, about the mysteries of this world, is philosophy, according to Plato. Don’t just know the dates and names of history. Put a “why” to it and have a chance to understand the real reasons behind things.
3. Plato’s Big Ideas and How They Help Us
In his lifetime, Plato shared some amazing ideas and thoughts with us that even help even in today’s modern world. Indeed, every idea of him is something that we can use in our lives for having a better understanding of it. So here we are going to share his 3 big ideas and how they help us in our lives.
3.1. The World of Ideas
Imagine a world where every single thing is just perfect and right, like a perfect circle or the ideal chair. Plato called it the “Realm of Forms.” Even though we can’t see that world of perfection through our eyes, it does exist in his mind.
He thought it was the origin of all the genuine things in the world. For instance, the stairs we use to go to the other floors are just some imperfect copies of the perfect stairs in the world of ideas.
Hot it Help us: Through this idea of Plato, we can strive for perfection and understand that what we see in front of us in this real world is just a little more imperfect than the ideal version. It will encourage us to think beyond what’s right in front of us, and we will try to improve it.
3.2. The Tripartite Soul
This idea of Plato is unique and exciting. Through this idea of him, he told us that our souls have three parts: reason, spirit, and desire. He compared these three parts of our souls to a chariot driver, a noble steed, and a wild stallion.
The driver (referred to as reason) guides the chariot, the noble steed (referred to as spirit) adds courage, and the wild stallion (referred to as desire) can sometimes pull us off the right track. This might be a little bit hard to understand, but if you read it carefully, you’ll be amazed by this idea.
How it helps us: This idea of Plato also helps us a lot in a very useful way. We all have different parts in our battling different battles, and if we become aware of them, it can help us make better choices and find the right balance in life.
3.3. Women Should be Treated Equally
In this idea, Plato acknowledged that women are comparatively less strong than men, and it should not be the reason they are not treated well. He believed that both men and women should have the same opportunities and respect in our society.
Back then, in ancient times, women were not usually treated well by society. They used to be treated as objects, and Plato was just against all of this. Even in today’s modern world, this idea doesn’t seem that old. Even today, in some parts of the world, women are not treated well.
How it helps us: We can understand the value of women in our societies from this idea of Plato. Also, it encourages us to treat them well and equally.
Indeed, Plato has left an amazing influence on Western philosophy and beyond by sharing some astonishing ideas and thoughts with us. Many of his ideas still shape today’s world and the way we think, from his point of view on justice and society to his frosty ideas about the knowledge and the reality of this world. His mindset worked as a spark that flared up the whole world with profound thoughts.
His will to question everything he saw in the world inspires so many people, even today, to explore new things. Although he lived a long time ago on this earth but you’ll find his ideas and thoughts still relevant. So the next time you get any big question about this world, take a look at Plato’s ideas and thoughts, you’ll definitely find something that will help you.